There is little doubt that Patrice Bergeron is the heart and soul of the Boston Bruins.
It’s hard to argue the B’s have a more important player on the ice every night than No. 37. Bergeron is lauded as one of the premiere two-way players in the game, winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy, handed out to the best defensive forward in the game, four times.
But Don Cherry thinks it’s time to consider Bergeron for another individual award — the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s MVP. In an interview with the Boston Herald’s Tom Keegan, the former Bruins bench boss said Bergeron should at least be in the top three in voting at season’s end.
“He should not only be the Selke winner, but should be the MVP,” Cherry said, via Keegan. “He wins every important draw, kills penalties, takes your regular shift and plays the power play. I don’t know who else can win the Selke besides him. And the way he’s going, he at least has to be in the top three for MVP.”
Bergeron never has garnered much attention in terms of the Hart Trophy, finishing in the top five just once, and even that only was a fifth-place finish in 2014. He’s placed in the top-20 just four times in his 15-year career.
But Bergeron has taken his offensive game to a new level over the past couple of seasons, averaging more than a point per game over his past two seasons, something the centerman never has done before in his career. Despite missing 16 games this season, Bergeron still has amassed 25 goals and 63 points in 52 games.
He is a long way behind the leading scorers in the NHL, such as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov, who has a whopping 110 points. But Bergeron is 11th in the league with a 1.21 points per game average.
It’s unlikely, given the absurd offensive numbers at the top of the NHL leaderboards, that Bergeron will come close to winning the Hart, but with the Bruins’ most recent run, and Bergeron’s prowess at both ends of the ice, it is surprising he does not draw more buzz for the award.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images